LEGACY LABYRINTH: DOORWAY TO THE STARS
“The artist's function is the mythologization of the environment and the world." ―Joseph Campbell
“We bring to our projects the architecture of ourselves." ―Mikhail Bahtkin
ARCHITECTURE IS A VISION QUEST—
A STORY TOLD THROUGH A BUILDING
A METAPHOR FOR THE FORM & STORY OF THE WORLD . . .
“Keep the faith. The vision is always for the appointed time. Be patient, prayerful and wait for the fulfillment of your visions.” ―Lailah Gifty Akita
WELCOME TO THE ARCHIVE OF JEF7REY HILDNER | ARCHITECT: MY LEGACY LABYRINTH
Featured in the viewer above: Dante|Telescope House aka (D)Ante|Telescope House—
THE NORTH STAR MONOLITH: The steel-beam Telescope—a shard of ancient suns—cuts through the Dante|Telescope Monolith and sights the North Star . . .
Of the 10 images in the viewer above, the first 9 show my project Dante|Telescope House (1991-1996), Silver Spring, Maryland, photographed by Yukio Futagawa for Global Architecture Houses. Commissioned by my friend and patron David Zlowe, Dante | Telescope House won the New Jersey Chapter of The American Institute of Architects “Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence in Design." As signaled by the project's title (Dante|Telescope House), those first 9 images assert primary themes that thread through my work—from buildings, paintings, and books to essays and screenplays. The last image, Razor Crest North No. 1, presents one of my visions for Daedalus 9—a dream house—named in honor of the mythical ancient Greek architect, inventor of the Labyrinth and Wings . . .
“[Daedalus] is the hero of the way of thought—singlehearted, courageous, and full of faith that the truth,
as he finds it, shall make us free.”
—Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
Before I go further, to learn more about my focus on Daedalus and the Labyrinth, go to:
JEF7REY HILDNER | AKA HENRY TRUCKS — AKA M.A.R.S. (Michelangelo A. Roland Slate)
At the bottom of this page, I give 11 Master Links that will thread you through the entire labyrinth of my life's work . . .
And now, to usher you over the threshold of my Legacy Labyrinth, I offer three essays below—three keys to my doorway to the stars:
1. A Tale of Two Stars
2. Reflections on the Cosmic Labyrinth: The Architecture of the World
3. Grokking the World: Architecture is a Vision Quest
1. A TALE OF TWO STARS
DECEMBER 25, 2021
"If you’re going to paint, you’d better find out why you’re doing it, and you should do something that you know about, that you’re infatuated with." —Wayne Thiebaud **
“The artist's function is the mytholgization of the environment and the world." ―Joseph Campbell
Here in the matrix of the Internet Archive, I'm hoping to get my life's work, my archive, all organized and shipshape—as organized as one of my buildings, paintings, or books. And, ideally, by establishing my archive here, I will up the chances that my work will be remembered and endure . . . as a potential fountainhead of inspiration and influence . . . at least for a spell beyond the time frame of my mortal existence.
For about 20 years, in the wake of the completion of Dante|Telescope House, a project about the origins of architecture in literature and astronomy and thus the timeless power of architecture to edify us and orient us in the world—physically, psychologically, poetically, and philosophically—two other shaping influences have played leading roles in the development of my art and my view of the architecture of life: the metaphor of the Labyrinth and the ancient Greek myth of Daedalus, the legendary architect who invented, designed, and constructed, on the island of Crete, the archetypal first Labyrinth.
These liquid multi-layered themes, those signified by Dante|Telescope House and the twin influences of the Labyrinth and Daedalus, infuse the organization, spirit, and content of this archive.
I’ll circle back to the Labyrinth and Daedalus in a second, but let me first turn back the clock to a major turning point in my life that puts the Labyrinth and Daedalus in the larger context of my endeavor.
My one-word life theme is architecture. But, and I know this might surprise you (it sure surprises me!), I discovered my one-word life theme only after a year-long journey to find it—and even then it took one of those “is there a lightbulb over my head” realizations to finally get a clue. But a clue I did finally get! And I owe that eventual Eureka! moment—my even pondering the concept of a one-word life theme—to a book that I read in 2012 about screenwriting and story design: Memo from the Story Department: Secrets of Structure and Character.
One of the coauthors, Christopher Vogler (he and David McKenna wrote alternating chapters), former head of the story department at Disney, enlightened me that most really good stories have a one-word theme. Likewise, good characters have a one-word life theme. On page 4, under the heading, "Something to think about," Vogler poses the question, “What is the one-word theme of your life?”
I closed the book. I sat for quite a while deeply moved by the impact of that question, pondering its brilliance and profundity as a question in its own right, struck by the almost comical truth that I didn’t know the answer, mulling over a few options but, ultimately, unsatisfied that any of them were on the money. I’d lived for almost six decades not knowing my one-word life theme. Wow. But I couldn’t wait to find out! Better late than never. And so, true to my dedication to the ancient Greek advice, “Know thyself,” I went on a quest to answer Vogler's question.
Many, if not all, quests are fueled by questions.
And often, the question boils down to the basic one: Who am I?
(Just ask Luke Skywalker.)
The question, "Who am I?," and its answer—this duo forms the foundation of the architecture of our being.
And as early-twentieth-century Russian philosopher and literary theorist Mikhail Bahtkin said, “We bring to our projects the architecture of ourselves."
So what kept me from seeing the obvious? What took me so long to see the architecture of myself? Why couldn't I see immediately that my one-word life theme, though accompanied by a short-list of supporting themes, is, was, and always will be architecture?
I considered that obvious choice right off the bat. But architecture as a one-word life theme ended up in my reject pile because, as I said to myself, OK, I love buildings, but I also love so many other aspects of art and life . . . paintings, books, movies, music, metaphysics. It took a year for me to wake up and finally see: Not only architecture literally, but also figuratively! Ahhhh!
Which is to say, the architecture not only of buildings but also of paintings and books—in fact, the architecture of all things visual, from photographs and the pages of a magazine or website to furniture, clothing, and industrial design—as well as the architecture of the art of teaching, an essay, a musical composition, or a story.
Then add to that list my deep interest in the architecture of people and of life itself, including not only the human dimension but also the meta-human dimension? Well, you get the picture.
And within the framework of my one-word life theme—a discovery that resulted, ultimately, from what David Emerald calls in his book The Power of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic), a "Blinding Flash of the Obvious"—I have now more clearly seen how Labyrinth and Daedalus function as my two one-word artistic themes. A large cast of artistic themes play supporting roles. But Labyrinth and Daedalus, inseparable one-word artistic themes, are the stars.
Think of my work as a buddy film: Thelma & Louise. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
The Labyrinth serves as a more general theme, relating primarily to one side of what I call the Silver Coin of Art: Form.
Daedalus serves as a more personal theme, a human theme—he is in many ways my avatar (but not the only avatar!)—relating primarily to the other side of the Silver Coin of Art: Story.
Daedalus and his Labyrinth have captivated me now for decades. I refer to them at least as early as 1999, in my essay "Rook's Move: Literal and Phenomenal Collage," where I wrote: "A building can signify in some ineffable, figurative way a remembrance of the mythical architecture, the Labyrinth, by the mythical architect, the winged-Daedalus. Daedalus, of course, is the daring vulnerable hero-artificer that inspires James's Joyce's own artifice: his novel A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and its main character, Stephen Daedalus. And in Stephen's search for the "ultraprofound" (Joyce's wonderful word), Stephen is awakened to the ardent purpose of virtually all makers, of all those who are engaged in the construction of labyrinths, be they the labyrinths of the language of words or the labyrinths of the language of buildings: 'To discover the mode of life or of art whereby your spirit could express itself in unfettered freedom.' One dares to imagine what could be achieved if an architect soared to creative heights with unclipped wings . . ."
My reference above to "unclipped wings" and unfettered freedom of creativity alludes to another thing about Daedalus that fascinates me.
Architect Daedalus not only invented the Labyrinth.
He also invented wings.
And . . .
For as long as I can remember, I've loved movies where people fly . . . from Superman and Birdman and The Matrix: Resurrections to movies where the characters fly in one of the first airplanes, as Karen Blixen and Denys Finch Hatton do in Out of Africa, getting an overview of life they may never have dared to dream possible. Flight scenes exhilarate me and lift my soul . . . vicariously set me free and make my mind and heart soar. Flight scenes in movies—and flight themes expressed through other works of art, like David Parsons’s choreography for his signature work, “Caught" and Stephen Schwartz's first act finale, "Defying Gravity," for the Broadway show Wicked—speak to me, as surely as they speak to countless millions of other people, uniting us with humanity's age-old dream to break free of real or apparent limitations and, yes, somehow defy gravity.
Daedalus signifies so much!
And here's another thing about Daedalus that amazes me about the mind-blowing imagination of the ancient Greeks who invented him. He was also a storyteller, a spinner of yarns. The physical yarn that Daedalus spun and gave to Ariadne, who in turn gave the yarn to Theseus, proved crucial to Theseus's finding his way out of the Labyrinth after he slayed the Minotaur. But Daedalus was also a spinner of yarns, metaphorically speaking, just like the ancient Greeks themselves, who spun the labyrinthian yarn of Daedalus—and don't so many great storytellers wind and unwind us through the labyrinth of their narrative world?
The clever, visionary, insightful philosopher-storytellers of ancient Greece conjured into the world for all time the architecture of a multi-dimensional character, Daedalus, who represents the most deep-seated human desire to somehow from limits and trouble fly away . . . to soar above the fray . . . to bravely wind our way . . . along our hero's journey pathway . . . through the metaphysical and existential Labyrinth—a metaphor for the Form & Story of the World.
It was Joseph Campbell, in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces
(1949), who taught me that Daedalus’s life reflected the classic pattern of what Campbell called the "The Hero’s Journey." And it was Campbell who, in that same book, also opened my eyes to Daedalus’s multi-talented identity—his richly symbolic identity—as a spinner of yarns: an architect of stories.
Campbell doesn't come out and say this explicitly. He only implies this role for Daedalus through wordplay woven into the tapestry of Campbell's evocative, symbolic writing style. But, I believe, for Campbell and the ancient Greek craftspeople of myths, the archetypal role of Daedalus as a devisor of story labyrinths of creativity that reflect flights of the imagination goes beyond wordplay. And this deeply metaphorical third dimension of Daedalus's skill set—his algorithm!—awakened in me the realization that the spirit of Daedalus stirs potentially within every architect, inspiring them to don the wings of a storyteller.
From the illuminating threads of Campbell's insights, I have painted a portrait of Daedalus in my imagination. Daedalus is the iconic architect-artist-storyteller, whose function, as Campbell said, "is the mythologization of the environment and the world."
“[Daedalus] is the hero of the way of thought—singlehearted, courageous, and full of faith that the truth, as he finds it, shall make us free. And so now we may turn to him, as did Ariadne. The flax for the linen of his thread he has gathered from the fields of the human imagination.” —Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
My close encounter with Daedalus of the third kind—Daedalus not only the inventor of the Labyrinth and wings but also storyteller, architect of myths, weaver of symbolic tales, allegories, with "thread he has gathered from the fields of the human imagination"—helped me to formulate clearly, boil down verbally, my concept of architecture that I first expressed in Dante|Telescope House. Not only is the following true:
ARCHITECTURE IS THE STAGE SET FOR THE DRAMA OF LIFE
But so too is this:
ARCHITECTURE IS A STORY TOLD THROUGH A BUILDING
Increasingly, Daedalus's winged spirit—unfettered creativity, imagination, courage, brains, and heart—and his hero's journey story, a classic tale of a fall from grace then grace eventually restored, though reconfigured, and only after a long struggle far from home—all of these intertwined strands of the fabric of the Daedalus myth, as well as the metaphorical meaning of the Labyrinth that he created, shapes my consciousness and therefore all of my work: the buildings I envision and design, the paintings I make, and the shape and meaning of the essays, books, and stories that I write.
If you want to read and see more about what I mean, see "LABYRINTH R.U.N." And see also The Hero's Journey House. I envision the house as an artistic expression of my unique concept, which I write about in "LABYRINTH R.U.N.," that the Labyrinth can be viewed as having an archetypal three-part identity: Tower, Maze, and Lawn.
I envision The Hero's Journey House as part of a three-part epic architectural saga:
. . . . . . . . . . .
LIFE IS A JOURNEY THROUGH A META-DIMENSIONAL LABYRINTH . . .
METAPHORICALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY, IF NOT ALSO FORMALLY AND SPATIALLY,
ARCHITECTURE REPRESENTS THIS JOURNEY:
OUR HERO’S JOURNEY
ARCHITECTURE IS A METAPHOR FOR THE FORM & STORY OF THE WORLD—
DEPARTURE, TRANSFORMATION, RETURN
. . . . . . . . . . .
“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.” —Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
And so here, in my role as architect of my own Legacy Labyrinth, I return to channel my inner Daedalus.
And after paying tribute to Wayne Thiebaud, via a footnote for his quote that begins this essay, and after then offering a short riff, "Reflections on the Cosmic Labyrinth: The Architecture of the World," and sharing the ideals of my "Vision Quest," I invite you to thread through the museum of my personal labyrinth here on, as Buckminster Fuller put it, "Spaceship Earth."
**Footnote for "A Tale of Two Stars"
I wrote "A Tale of Two Stars" during a 24-hour window starting on Friday night, Christmas Eve, 2021.
When I awoke on Sunday, December 26, I got the news that the day before, Christmas Day, Wayne Thiebaud passed away.
I first met Wayne in the spring of 2014 at the opening of a show at the since-closed Bolt Gallery here in midtown, Sacramento, California. The show featured works on paper by Wayne's painter friend and artistic ally, Richard Diebenkorn. The two painters distinguished themselves as original members of a contrarian mid-twentieth-century art movement: the Bay Area Figurative Movement. And in the summer of 2012, when I moved from Boston to Sacramento, I couldn't believe that Wayne Thiebaud not only was still alive but painted every day at his studio in midtown and lived little more than a mile away from me in my neighborhood.
I don't recall that I ever spoke to Wayne again, until last month, but I stopped by his house a few times over the years, asking his grandson Matt Bolt if Wayne might be so kind as to autograph copies of his various monographs. Wayne graciously obliged. And I dared to give Matt a copy for Wayne of my monograph, Henry Trucks — Painter.
And then recently, I stopped by Wayne's house two more times: first, on November 18, 2021, a Thursday, three days after his 101st birthday.
My buddy Sam and I had just played tennis at Sac City, and I said, "Sam, let's stop by and say hi to Wayne, wish him a happy birthday." Coincidentally, Sac City—Sacramento City College—and tennis played key roles in Wayne's life: he taught at Sac City, and he loved tennis, playing throughout his life until just after his 100th birthday. When Sam and I got to Wayne's house—the 7th house on the north side of 7th Street (do you think that I, Jef7rey, find that pretty special??!)—Sam stayed on the sidewalk with our bikes, and I walked up to the garden gate of Wayne's modest two-story white house and rang the bell. Wayne could see me from his living room, and he got up and came to the door. I said, "Hi Wayne! Happy Birthday!" "Thank you," he said kindly. I told him, "You're an ongoing inspiration to me and my work, and I just wanted to stop by and say thank you . . . and along with my neighbor Sam here to send you well-wishes." Wayne uttered a humble word or two of thanks as he stood there in the doorway. I will forever see in my mind's eye how the light defined by the doorway's vertical, rectangular frame silhouetted Wayne's slender figure, clad in dark clothes. He radiated health and warmth. And I said, "Now you take care of yourself, and I'll see you next year when you turn 102." He smiled, said, "OK! Thank you."
But, in effect, in case I might never have the chance to do so, if I might never see him again, I stopped by not only to say thank you . . . but also to say farewell.
I stopped by Wayne's house for the final time four weeks later: Sunday afternoon, December 19, 2021. I left on his doorstep an updated copy of Henry Trucks—with a note, "Merry Christmas, Wayne. Hope all is well. See page 138." I don't know that Wayne ever got a chance to do that. But I wanted him to know that I included an inspirational quote by him on page 138 (now page 144) of Henry Trucks (you can also see the page here)—the epigraph for "A Tale of Two Stars":
"If you’re going to paint, you’d better find out why you’re doing it, and you should do something that you know about, that you’re infatuated with." —Wayne Thiebaud
Architecture is a vision quest: a quest to see then build. And in 2013, I expressed my vision quest—what I know about, what I'm infatuated with: what I see—in a herald-call haiku, featured in my book Daedalus 9:
Architect the tale
Of hero Daedalus's trek—
Timeless vision quest
Wayne Thiebaud: November 15, 1920 — December 25, 2021
2. REFLECTIONS ON THE COSMIC LABYRINTH
The Architecture of the World
JULY 9, 2020
HUMAN EXPERIENCE IS A LABYRINTH―SO IS THE ARCHITECTURE OF REALITY
BUT THE LABYRINTH CAN BE THOROUGHLY KNOWN . . .
THE FLOOR PLAN REVEALED
THE ROOMS, THEIR LAYOUT AND CONNECTIONS, NO LONGER CONCEALED
ANYMORE THAN TRUE FOR ANY BUILDING ON EARTH, NO MATTER HOW COMPLEX
SOMEDAY THE FOG WILL LIFT
AND WE WILL THREAD THROUGH THE LABYRINTH NOT AS PAWNS IN THE NIGHT
ON A CHESSBOARD WE DON'T UNDERSTAND
BUT AS CHESS MASTERS, KNIGHTS
DWELLERS IN A HOUSE WITH THE FLOOR PLAN ROLLED OUT
EARTH PRELIFE NO LONGER A MYSTERY
HUMAN DEPARTURE NO LONGER A MISERY
LIFE REVEALED AS A LINE
MEMORY NO LONGER ZERO
EARTH AFTERLIFE NO LONGER GUESSWORK, A FEELING, OR A BELIEF
AND THE PAST EVEN CLEARER THAN THE FUTURE―
JUST LIKE EVERY DAY HERE: MORE SURE OF WHERE WE'VE BEEN . . .
THAN WHERE WE'RE GOING . . .
THE ARCHITECT OF THE FLOOR PLAN OF REALITY WANTS US TO KNOW
HOW THE BUILDING IN WHICH WE DWELL WORKS
WITH TOTAL CLARITY
DOWN TO THE POSITION OF THE LIGHT SWITCHES ON THE WALLS
THE LAYOUT OF EVERY ROOM
FROM FRONT DOOR TO BACK DOOR
DOWNSTAIRS TO UPSTAIRS
FRONT YARD TO BACKYARD
FROM THE THE SPANISH TERRA-COTTA ROOF TILES
TO THE WALLS OF SLATE
GOD IS IN THE DETAILS
NO ARCHITECT OF INTEGRITY WANTS THEIR CLIENTS IN THE DARK
ARCHITECTS WANT THEIR CLIENTS TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THE HOUSE
IN WHICH THEY WORK AND PLAY AND LIVE AND LOVE
DITTO FOR THE MASTER ARCHITECT OF THE HOUSE OF THE WORLD
THE HOUSE OF MANY MANSIONS
THE FLOOR PLAN EXISTS
WAITING FOR US TO FIND IT
ANSWERS LIE WITHIN OUR REACH
AND SOMEDAY . . .
“We'll find 'em. Just as sure as the turnin' of the earth.” ―Frank S. Nugent, The Searchers
3. GROKKING THE WORLD: ARCHITECTURE IS A VISION QUEST
I expressed my vision quest in writing as early as 1999, on my website The Architect Painter. There, I wrote essays on architectural theory and painting, as well as crafted poems, under the name Madison Gray, a published art critic, in a space that I called "deep_SIGHT." You can read an early version that I used to flagship deep_SIGHT. Since then, I've continued to refine and amplify, write and rewrite, my quest. The way I've expressed my vision has changed from one version to the next, but my basic ideals and mission have remained the same. But first, a word about the meaning of Vision Quest. Literally, a vision quest is an ancient wilderness experience: "a solitary vigil by an adolescent American Indian boy to seek spiritual power and learn through a vision the identity of his usually animal or bird guardian spirit." But metaphorically, a vision quest reflects the universal human arc of progress that Joseph Campbell named "The Hero's Journey": a journey that begins by either our eager or reluctant Departure from the ordinary world—community, comfort zone: home—followed by Transformation that happens as we trek through the wilderness—the labyrinth—of the new world, and ending when we Return home to share the gifts of our enlightenment.
The quest is primarily inward—a rite of passage, whether for Luke Skywalker or Dorothy or you and me, requiring a brave leap of faith into the unknown.
“A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.”
—Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949)
GROKKING THE WORLD
Architecture is a Vision Quest: a quest to see then build—and a quest that traces back to the original meaning of the word build: “to be.”
Architecture reflects humanity’s timeless quest to carve out of the labyrinth of life a place to be.
Ideally, such a place gives outer expression to our inner being—strikes a deep emotional chord, enchants us, and speaks to us through the sorcery of its transformative superpowers.
Courage. Imagination. Truth.
The art of building inspires architects to soar—to explore and materialize metaphors: find limitless ways to express what Clive Bell called, in his book Art (1914), “Significant Form”—and its partner, what I call Significant Space. “There are many architectures,” as my daughter said precociously at age 10. I seek to realize one of them: an original expression of Significant Form & Significant Space—uniting to make what I call Significant Place. I created a Significant Place at Dante|Telescope House. Inside and outside, the house resonates with the memory of architecture’s origins in story and stars.
Architecture began as the sacred space marked out by astronomer-priests for the observation of reality. These temples of space were sometimes the space of sky, not only of land, and the space was delimited orally by an augur. Astronomer-priests, augurs—humans who possessed special powers of perception and insight: seers, foretellers, mystics, futurists, visionaries—these were the world’s first architects.
Oracle-Storytellers. Spiritual Stargazers.
At Dante | Telescope House—including its outdoor room, the North Star Observatory, presided over by the Dante | Telescope Monolith, its steel-beam Telescope pointing to the North Star—I conjured an enchanted, visionary realm marked out for the observation of reality.
Outer Reality & Inner Reality.
Like the first architects, I vision-quest to grok the Architecture of the Form & Story of the World—“understand profoundly and intuitively” the Form & Story of Our Being—then give artistic expression to what I see through the metaphorical power of a building.
Architecture is the Red Pill.
Build the Truth.
. . . . . . . . . . .
“There’s only one story: the primordial World-Story, told and retold: one shape-shifting story of the
vision quest that transforms the world.” —Joseph Campbell
From the documentary The Hero’s Journey: The World of Joseph Campbell (1987), written by Janelle Balnicke, Phil Cousineau, and William Free
ARCHITECTURE BEGAN AS A SEARCH FOR TRUTH—
AS AN AESTHETIC & SYMBOLIC EXPRESSION OF A VISION QUEST TO UNRIDDLE THE FORM & STORY OF THE WORLD
FOR ARCHITECTS WHO, TODAY, FEEL THESE PRIMORDIAL REVERBERATIONS, THAT VISION QUEST CONTINUES . . .
. . . . . . . . . . .
Follow these links to explore my Legacy Labyrinth . . .
MASTER LINKS | KEYS TO MY LEGACY LABYRINTH: The following 11 Master Links, as well as the dozens of other Internet Archive links (see the complete list at HOME), will thread you through the labyrinth of my life's work—work that I hope will inspire you the way other people's work inspires me:
JEF7REY HILDNER AND THE ARCHITECT PAINTER PRESS
JEF7REY HILDNER IS AN AWARD-WINNING ARCHITECT, PAINTER, AND WRITER. Founder of The Architect Painter Press, which he launched in 2005 to present his buildings, paintings, and insights, he explores through his work the visible and invisible architecture of art and life—seeking to stay true to The Architect Painter Press banner, “Live Brave.”
Current titles produced by The Architect Painter Press range from Hildner's books Visual Ef9ects, Daedalus 9, Henry Trucks — Painter, Picasso Lessons, and Garches 1234 to his books Metaphysical Warrior and Live Brave.
The Architect Painter Press also seeks to present the work of other artists and will soon take the first step toward that goal by publishing the paintings of Richard Rosa in the forthcoming book Field Games, for which Hildner wrote the Publisher's Foreword: "Book 9."
In addition to his list of eight books (through 2022)—which doesn't include additional paperback books, the 64-page first edition and 68-page second edition of Henry Trucks — Painter, books that he created on the run-up to producing the definitive 150-page large-format hardcover—Hildner has created esteemed artwork (buildings and paintings) and crafted celebrated essays that appear in a wide array of venues beyond the pages of The Architect Painter Press. His list of outside publications tallies over 400 and runs the gamut—from The Christian Science Journal and Christian Science Sentinel, two magazines that he served for ten years as senior editor, senior writer, and creative director, to Journal of Architectural Education, ANY, Oz, IMDb, Architecture New Jersey, Architectural Record, and Global Architecture Houses.
Hildner has also contributed significant essays to books by other authors. The book Architectural Formalism, by Hakan Anay, features a Turkish translation of Hildner’s essay “Formalism: Move | Meaning” (first published by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture then updated for the addendum in Visual Ef9ects), which appears alongside essays by distinguished theorists Rosalind Krauss, Peggy Deamer, Robert Slutzky, and Colin Rowe. The book Connective Tissues, by Peter Waldman, features Hildner's 18-page Epilogue, "LABYRINTH R.U.N."
Actively involved in architectural education since 1989—his first gig was as a visiting critic for a graduate design studio at The University of Texas at Arlington—Hildner received, in 1993, while teaching full-time at New Jersey Institute of Technology, a "New Faculty Award" from the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture for excellence in teaching. He has variously lectured, conducted seminars on architectural theory, and led design studios at many universities—including University of Tennessee, University of Pennsylvania, University of Virginia, Pratt Institute, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Parsons School of Design | The New School, and Syracuse University Florence, where he participated in the February 2016 symposium on Formalism ("The F Word"). His symposium presentation, "Visual Ef9ects," as well as his Syracuse University Florence follow-up lecture, "The House of the Human Face," form the basis for his bookVISUAL EF9ECTS | Architecture and the Chess Game of Form & Story.
Æ Ventures Foundation, New York City, awarded Hildner a generous grant in 2012 to support his endeavor as a painter. His artwork Ithaca Collage (40 x 40 in.) was displayed at The Center for Contemporary Art, Bedminster, New Jersey, in their 2010 juried International "Art in Architecture" Exhibition. In 2012, he created the commissioned giclee-on-canvas Ithaca g aka Chess Lawn (1 x 1.85 m), a digital remix of his oil on canvas Ithaca (16 x 20 in.), for the offices of the Fujitsu Corporation in Hamburg, Germany. In 1995, the New Jersey Chapter of The American Institute of Architects gave the “Blue Ribbon Award for Excellence in Design” to his project Dante | Telescope House.
Hildner produces work under many names other than his primary professional name, JEF7REY HILDNER. He also paints under the name Henry Trucks and writes under the names Jeffrey Hildner (his given name), Madison Gray, Eliot Plum, and Michelangelo A. Roland Slate (aka M.A.R.S.).
Hildner’s one-word life theme—architecture—shapes his quest, his outlook, and his output, including his work as screenwriter and story architect. A magna cum laude graduate of Princeton University, where he also earned his professional Master of Architecture, he lives in Sacramento, California—where, like the legendary architect of Greek myth, Daedalus—Hildner dares not fly too close to the sun . . . but throughout his Labyrinth Run . . . hopes to always . . .
Quest Forward Brave.
NOTE: UNLESS OTHERWISE ATTRIBUTED, ALL ASSERTIONS ABOVE BY JEF7REY HILDNER
“My ideas are mine. No one has a right to them except on my terms." —Howard Roark
The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand